Sad news in the hip-hop world as Houston-based rapper Big Pokey, whose real name was Milton Powell, passed away at the age of 45. The Hardest Pit in the Litter rapper collapsed on stage during a Juneteenth performance in Texas and was rushed to the hospital where he later died. His official Instagram page confirmed his death and asked for privacy for his family during this difficult time.
Powell was a part of the Screwed Up Click rap collective, which included other Houston rappers DJ Screw, Fat Pat, Z-Ro, Lil' Keke, and Lil' Flip. He first became active in the early 1990s, working with Houston producer DJ Screw and releasing songs on the producer's mixtapes. Powell was featured on DJ Screw's June 27th Freestyle mixtape, which became a landmark album in chopped and screwed hip-hop. He then released his debut album Hardest Pit in the Litter in 1999, followed by D-Game 2000 the next year. His other albums included Da Sky's Da Limit, Evacuation Notice, and Sensei.
Powell's legacy in the industry was recognized when a clip of his song Who Dat Talkin Down was featured on the pilot episode of Entourage in 2004. Fans and members of the hip-hop community are mourning his loss and celebrating his contributions to the culture. Houston mayor Sylvester Turner paid tribute to Powell on Twitter, thanking him for his role in helping to put the city on the map nationally in terms of its hip-hop scene. "Though many called him 'low key,' his presence was larger than life in helping to catapult our hip hop scene nationally. We are grateful," Turner wrote.
The cause of Powell's death is still unknown, pending an autopsy. Information about his celebration of life and how the public can pay their respects will be released in the coming days. Big Pokey will be remembered as a true legend in the Houston hip-hop scene, leaving behind a legacy of music that will continue to inspire and move people for years to come.